flash forward: don't forget about the fall
Summer is a great time of the year… and a busy time for youth workers!
School is out and youth ministry often goes into overdrive. Our painful experience has been that youth ministry leaders can get so caught up in “the NOW” that they fail to prepare for the fall. In today’s post, we will highlight some of the benefits of planning and in tomorrow’s post, we’ll provide a few ideas to jumpstart your planning process.
Planning allows you to be strategic. When you spend time to think ahead, you get to ask and answer the question, “What is most important?” Last minute planning often results into default actions that appear to simply “fill up the calendar” and lack strategy. When you determine your priorities ahead of time, you can focus on them more intentionally and have the time to carefully discern where God might be leading your ministry.
Planning leads to healthy ministry. Just because there motion and activity doesn’t necessarily mean your ministry is effective and healthy. We believe that many youth ministries could cut out half of what they are doing and would actually be healthier. Taking time to plan allows you to evaluate the health of your ministry.
Planning gives you a chance to gather feedback from others. Once you have a planning draft you can gather feedback from the wisdom of others. It can be a good leadership move to allow people to chime in during the early phases of planning while everything is still a “work in progress”. More eyes on your planning (the right eyes) usually equates to more wisdom. When ministry is last minute, people can only judge after the fact... which makes it easy to be critical, and difficult for you!
Planning allows you to pick the best ideas. You probably have a lot of good ideas for the ministry that you’re passionate about, but not all your ideas will be great. When you plan ahead, you get to choose the best ideas and leave the other ones for another time.
Planning gives you Plan B options. Changes will inevitably arrive—that’s life—right? A van rental will get accidentally canceled, adult volunteers will get sick, your pastor will ask you to take on another responsibility, etc… When the unexpected happens, it’s always helpful to have a solid Plan B.
Planning sets you up for better communication. The earlier you know what’s happening in your ministry, the sooner you can start talking about it. Sure, most teenagers don’t plan months in advance, but many of their parents do (especially planning for vacations and holidays). When parents know what’s happening in the future, they can plan around your ministry activities. Informed parents are happier parents!
Good planning is essential for healthy ministry. It’s tough to accomplish, but you can do it! Okay, let’s plan to plan--when can you carve out time to think about the fall? Set a specific time and enter it prayerfully.